Monday, October 15, 2007

Wood. *The* Wood, To Be Exact.

There’s something about birchwood around here.

We have Birchwood Basement Waterproofing Company, Birchwood Chimney Cleaning, Birchwood Farm, Birchwood Landscaping, Birchwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Birchwood Village Estates and some other high-ticket development with a similar name.

This never dawned on me until I was coming home from church Sunday morning. I happened to notice Birchwood Village Estates, which is a rundown, mostly vacant trailer park near the church.

It reminded me of the Birchwood Basement Waterproofing Company, which sort of thing is big around here in this area of hills and valleys. The water has to go somewhere as it goes downhill, and people’s basements seem to be good places.

The Kirby Family, co-originators of the five-and-dime stores, lived here and left their name on everything that didn't have one. But there’s no Birchwood family to drop theirs all over, like cow flops in a field.

I asked around and someone told me that birchwood (or birch trees) are the first to grow out of culm banks – the huge black piles of stone leftover from coal mining. This having been a big coal area years ago, the tree’s name is as endemic as the black mountains which are still all over the place.


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